Started in 1959 by Hollywood actresses Sara O’Meara and Yvonne Fedderson, Childhelp is one of the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofits that is dedicated to raising awareness of child abuse and helping to put a stop to it. The organization’s 14th annual Wings Fashion Show will raise funds to ensure continued support for programs serving children and families in our communities.
This year’s fashion show, which will be held virtually, is scheduled for April 15. It will be co-chaired by Arcadia residents Lisa Barnes and Ashlyn Rowe. The program will include a prerecorded version of the signature event.
The festivities will also include live content and a raffle, and both a silent and live auction. Hoping to inject some colorful cheer and excitement, the co-chairs chose “A Night in Havana” as this year’s theme.
Barnes and Rowe have been active in philanthropy all their lives and helping children is near and dear to both of their hearts. Barnes, who grew up in California, credits her mom as her big-hearted role model.
“From working at a domestic violence shelter to volunteering with the American Cancer Society, my mom is super philanthropic,” Barnes said.
While at ASU, Barnes pledged a sorority whose altruism focused on domestic violence. After graduation, she became active in the Junior League. The birth of her babies, though, was the watershed that propelled her to advocate for kids.
Both of her children were patients at the U of A Steele Children’s Research Center, which focuses on pediatric diseases. This experience inspired her to join PANDA (People Acting Now Discover Answers) and volunteer to help their initiative raise money for Steele.
“Having kids made me passionate about assisting organizations that helped children,” Barnes said. “One of my sorority sisters connected me with Childhelp. I knew abused children were out there, but I had no idea how bad it was.”
Rowe was born in Houston but has lived in Phoenix for most of her life. She credits her husband for her interest in philanthropy.
“When my husband was living in Las Vegas, he was invited to attend an event for abused children,” Rowe said, “and their plight hit him very hard. Once in Phoenix, we decided to establish a foundation, the Rowe Family Trust, to help local charities. We’ve now been donating to many different organizations around the Valley for the last 10 years.”
While Rowe was pregnant with her daughter, a friend introduced her to Childhelp.
“When you’re expecting and think about child abuse, it shakes you,” Rowe said. “It instills in you the fear that you’d never want that to happen to your child, let alone anyone else’s.”
Childhelp plans on holding various events this year, including a four-course dinner and a separate gala scheduled for May.